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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    February 7, 2013
    6:00 - 9:00am EST  

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>> we already have laws like that. and i think would be extremely effective in our struggle to stop immigration fraud. >> thank you my time has expired the can two of the witnesses answer the question? >> ms. vaughan? >> thank you for addressing this problem. it was cold one of biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the trade government and i know they're still cleaning up a lot of the fraud like programs that
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were passed in the '90s. we know a fair amount about the benefit of fraud that occurs from programs that were built into uscis on the quality control programs, assessments. there's double-digit fraud in some of our legal immigration programs now, and we have to have a system that has integrity to have the confidence to go forward. i agree with a lot of what my colleagues said, which would add there needs to be and interview process at a certain point in the system. we can talk about way that best fits in but we can't have a system that is an honor system or people are just taken at their word. and putting the burden of proof on the applicants is important. using technology to verify claims that people make. i agree wholeheartedly that there cannot be a strict confidentiality provision in this. that's a dealbreaker. we can't prosecute all benefits
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fraud, so we have to have the ability to let an administrative process play out with those cases that are not going to go to yes attorney or be prosecuted by i speak we have to let uscis use its authority and tools like administrative removal to make sure that the people who are denied are not allowed to stay here anyway. that is a huge weakness and benefits programs right now. these are not small numbers of people that are benefiting from the fact that we tolerate so much fraud in this process. >> thank you. >> indifference -- let me be very brief. in the report published by immigration enforcement, we did identify gaps. one of the biggest gaps i think is frankly the either of my program about the fraudulent identification. that we do not have where we can say to the person ocean front of
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him or her is the person that the verification practices. we need to drastically improve that. that can be done by metrics guinea pig they can be done by doing better, more secure documents. lesson about fraud was that when you provided incentive for people to commit fraud, they commit fraud. and when you remove incentive, people behave. i think, as i said in my oral statement that one of the drawbacks was that we had left the eligible to date about five years earlier than the date of enactment. that creates incentive for people to say they were here three years earlier. if we just made a very inclusive and drawn the line, that incentive would have gone down. those are the kinds of realities i think we need to keep in mind as we write the next generation of legalization.
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>> ms. chu is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, i would like to recognize that there are quite a few groups that are very interested in making sure that comprehensive immigration reform happens, and they would like to have their positions submitted into the record. so i asked in an instant to sub for the record the position papers of the asian justice system, and the congressional asian pacific caucus. spent without objection, it will be made a part of the record. >> thank you very much. i'd like to address a couple of questions to mr. chishti. one is on border security and the other is on the exploitation of workers. first on border security. i took a congressional bipartisan trip to the border because i wanted to see for myself what was going on down there, and we actually traveled miles of the border.
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we looked at tunnels. we looked up the coast guard boat. we talk to border security, and we looked at the detention centers. and to my stunned amazement there was capacity for hundreds but they were only maybe five or six people there. that were being detained. and the border security agents said that this has been going on for months. and it became apparent to me from that trip that we have poured billions of dollars and immigration enforcement along the border. we spend more money per year on immigration enforcement and all other law enforcement agencies combined. the border patrol has nearly doubled the number of its agents from 2004-2012. and apprehensions at the border at 22 abrupt the lowest in four years. yet many lawmakers continue to call for achieving operational control of the border, which would mean effectively sealing
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the border. the gao have said that such a standard is unrealistic and outdated. so at this point, is there even more to do to make the border more secure, or i'll we really just talking about keeping it secure? >> again, reflecting on the findings that would make in our report, i think we've done a lot, much better at the board than we've done in a long time. i think most people recognize that. and a level of staffing, a technology that is being employed, and the decline of apprehensions all speak to the. we did note that in our finding that there is one area in the border enforcement that still is the weakest advanced port of entry. ports of entry actually have not captured -- and i think if you focus on improving anything on the border security, then up easily that's one place to look
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at. follow-up question? >> yes. well, is that -- another topic. is that it on border security? okay. i wanted to ask about the exploitation of workers. immigrant workers in my district regularly face exploitation advance of their employers. they are threatened with deportation when they stand up for the labor rights. or example day laborers like josé diaz who worked to rebuild our nation after hurricane and when ask him when he asked for proper safety equipment he faced deportation, or another was a guest worker under age to be program who bravely exposed the labor trafficking occurring at his workplace, and we he asserted his rights he was experiencing intimidation, surveillance and monitoring. and one that employs make them work overtime without pay or save money by not eyeing this needed safety equipment this undercuts american workers by driving down wages and allowing
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firms to break the law by updating their competitors. if of scruples employers are getting away with this, then this can of course undermine our whole system. how can we protect the workers so that they don't fear standing up against such exploitations? >> as i said, i think earlier is that through the labor protection i think is one of the lesson looked at provisions with respect to the immigration debate. i think whatever new regime of labor flows we're going to have, labor protection has to be central to that. both with respect to the protections of u.s. worker and the protection of foreign worker. in many of our temporary worker programs today, which is why they have a bad name as, they're lacking very basic fundamental protection. like in the age to be program you cannot sue a panoply.
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highly understaffed to do with those kind of complaints. so i would recommend strongly that we look at any regime of future close that labor protection have to be at our with u.s. workers. and the important elements of that, a come is no matter what kind program we have, workers have the right to move from one form to the other. what some people call portability because then you're not tied to it or an employer. to, you should get exactly the same wages, same protections under the labor law that u.s. worker does the jew should have same access as u.s. workers do. and ultimately you should have the right to become permanent resident because otherwise you will constantly be an exploitable situation. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i thank the gentlewoman and i'm going to recognize myself for a few questions. i apologize to the panel for not being here the entire time, but
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i have a number of questions on want to ask you. and as i do that, i would ask that you debrief be breeze likel of them in. first of all, to you, ms. wood, former immigration and naturalization service commissioner meisner has stated that prosecutorial discretion should be exercised on the case-by-case basis and should not be used to immunize entire categories of noncitizens from immigration enforcement. which appears to be what is being done with the discretion that the president has given under current circumstances. do you believe that prosecutorial discretion is properly utilize -- utilized in enforcement of immigration laws and how did you exercise that discretion when you were
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director of trent in? >> i think it's tough to say that you are exercising discretion when you exempt full classes and categories of people. i certainly understand the frustration. a lot of people have and would've of immigration laws to change. a lot of equities, a lot of care, but it's not prosecutorial discretion if you exempt full classes out without going through a case-by-case basis. when i was at i.c.e. mortgages prosecutorial discretion. we did it on a case-by-case basis. it's important institutionally that i.c.e. retain that ability to have prosky to discretion because there's some cases that you can't legislate for ahead of time. so have to have the ability to exercise discretion in appropriate circumstances. spink and you just when you state the number of trenton officers have been put under investigation or are subject to formal charges for enforcing immigration laws as written but apparently a man inconsistent with current administration policies, in fact, the federal judge in your lawsuit, mr. green, has concluded that the plaintiffs faced the threat
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of discipline action if they violate the command of the directive from secretary napolitano regarding deferred action by a resting or issuing a notice to appear to a directive eligible alien. could you first explain that and then add what has been the departments databases for these investigations? >> first of all i'm not certain what you're asking me to explain so i apologize. as far as the mta part goes. spent the basis of a lawsuit pending against you spend i think you pretty i truly stated the basis of a lawsuit, mr. chairman. our officers are prohibited from enforcing u.s. immigration law under threat of repeated disciplinary actions of into including removal if we don't enforce those laws. i want to be very clear in saying that it's definitely not prosecutorial discretion. most important because we are under orders not to enforce certain laws.
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prosecutorial discretion is something completely different and what's happening right now are clear orders not to enforce the law. >> and ms. vaughan, do you believe the resources congress currently gives i.c.e. are sufficient to control the illegal immigration in the interior of the united states if those funds were used with a maximum effectiveness? >> that's a hard question. because so much of it depends on the second part of your question, a caveat which is if they were used as efficient as possible, now, i think that the agency could use some more funding for some specific purposes. for example, for funding for detention space seems to be an issue. although i would also argue that we could do a better job at streamlining the removal process
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so people don't need to be in detention as long, or perhaps not at all if we make more use of things like expedited removal, state later removed, judicial orders of removal. many of these cases simply shouldn't be in immigration court at all. but yes, i think even if they could use an infusion of resources if congress could be certain that they would be used effectively. >> mr. chishti, you stated in your testimony that the combined budgets of the u.s. immigration and customs enforcement, u.s. customs and border protection and u.s. and business exceed by about one quarter the combined budgets of all other principal law enforcement agencies, federal law enforcement agencies, and that most of the increased immigration funding has gone to the border patrol. assuming that these figures are fair comparisons, do you believe the portable call manpower should be cut? if so, by how much?
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>> we don't make any recommendations for cutting anything. we don't, we don't make a case that there's too much spending that on border, or we don't make a case this too much -- we present how much was done, a good part by congressional appropriations. and that may reflect why enforcement has been so effective. i think all we just want to point out is that given the budget realities that at some point, this is not going to be an unlimited expansion of these programs. that congress and you all will have to make a decision that it was a straight line cutting, where those cuts will have to take place. and we will suggest that if they had to take place at a place on the strategic way, that you don't cut things where there are things working very well. and really look at things whether or not working as well. >> let me do that, with one less question before we turn to our
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next member for question. and that is this. i don't believe we should cut the funding for border enforcement at all, but i very much believe that we are not doing enough to address the enforcement of the law in the interior of the country. 40% some say, maybe a little us, but whatever, of the people unlawfully here entered legally. so the border is relevant to their status. they came and probably mostly on airplanes and they overstate their student visas or visitors visas or business visas, and there is not, in my opinion, very much enforcement going on at all in the interior of the country. and i will ask each of you to tell me how you would solve that, but do it concisely. >> in our report we did identify three areas where there is a gap in enforcement. and there's tremendous amount of improvement. two of those do relate to
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internal enforcement. one is that e-verify program. it has been improving but it has a big drawback about identification issues. that has to be better because otherwise there will always be a loophole. we have to do better in terms of biometric scanning or secure documents to improve the. and second is that i think the u.s. visa program which was given the mandate of both looking at -- exit which is how you would control the presence of overstate, that hasn't happened. so clearly there has to be much more of her on the overstate in the country. in fact, i think you're right, i think the number is larger than the number of people who cross illegally. should be a reversal. one of the ways to control that is to improve our exit entry system in the u.s. >> thank you.
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ms. vaughan. >> yes, i would definitely agree, we need to move forward in finishing the entry-exit system that congress asked for act in 1996. one key part of that, that many don't talk about is the lack of adequate entry screening at the lan ports, which after all is where most, the largest number of visitors enter. we need to make sure that land visitors get the same level of screening that visitors were coming in on airplanes and boats do. i think more attention to workplace enforcement would also help address the overstate problem. because after all if there's no incentive to stay over your visa, you're not going to have as large a problem. another cost effective way to get more bang for our immigration enforcement block is to increase the number of partnerships that i.c.e. has with local law enforcement agencies because there are many communities around come a law enforcement agencies and local
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and state governments would like to assist i.c.e. in its mission, and you the opportunity to do so and they're willing to put their own resources towards that end we should be encouraging those partnerships instead of shutting them down as has been the case recently. >> mr. crane. i know you are focused at border, but what is your perspective on the entry of the country? >> you're right in my ballpark you. i am facing on into. i work out of salt lake city, utah. this is something very near and dear to my heart. so just to comment on this. i strongly agree with your comments on the worksite enforcement. with regard to the partnerships, to be careful about those partnerships because what's happened in some situations is those partnerships resulted in sheriffs department not wanting to fill all the obligations and those things fall back on our folks, and that dissipates when things like that happen. so those have to be very carefully structured and have to be very carefully monitored and
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managed spent but you don't object to the condit? >> no, not at all. what we tried to do at one point was at the agency would do the task force type situation to where they would have people working directly with our officers and agents as players. to which don't support the. however, with regard to i.c.e., we have approximate 20,000 police. of the 20,000, approximately 5000 are the immigration agents that do the lion's share of the immigration work within 50 states, puerto rico, guam, saipan. i mean, it's a tremendous workload for those 500 -- for the 5000 people to be a resting, taking these folks to proceedings in immigration court and actually removing them each year. so we definitely need more resources on the interior enforcement part, and we need, to the portal, we really haven't
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grown since 9/11 were as the border patrol has basically almost tripled since 9/11. another interesting fact about those 5000 i.c.e. agents, they are split into two jobs. both of them don't have the same arrest authority. we all have the same training, but we don't have same arrest authority. so there's a quick force multiplier right there, and even that, it would make something like that happen even would be a great start to getting more increase in to enforcement. in addition to that, with those 5000 people spread out all over the nation, this handful of officers, we've got people working in facilities that have full immigration arrest authority and they're not doing immigration enforcement work. why? you know, we only have someone those resources and they are limited and we need them, why aren't we using them to be out on the streets are be inside a jail make immigration arrests?
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>> thank you. ms. wood. >> i would second the point raised by my colleagues on entry exit, and enhancing worksite enforcement but they're two of the things i would do with overstate at first i would increase the number of operation teams and have them target kind of recent overstays and so target those individuals to go out and find them. the second thing i would do is to make sure that people enter from visa waiver countries and non-visa waiver countries are treated the same. if i come in on vacation from visa waiver country i wait some of my rights for review. of a coming from a non-visa waiver country i don't and i could type the immigration court for years fighting a deportation listed over on my vacation. that makes no sense i would really move to kind of streamline and have that be the same in both institutions which i think would be awful. >> very good suggestion, thank you. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i had a very good fortune to united states attorney for eastern north going for number of years. ms. wood, you're in the department when i was in the department as well. eastern orthodox has one of the fastest growing illegal immigrant populations in the country pashtun eastern north carolina. along with that comes the ever increasing gang violence, drug crimes, violent crimes that you have when you have a committee of people who are under the radar so to speak, very easy for criminals to hide within that community. gang members to hide within the community because no one is going to call the local shareprice that there's something suspicious going on next door because they are illegal. we have a zero-tolerance policy. we would prosecute every immigration crime that was brought to us. for the most part, those immigration crimes arose in the
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context of a drug crime or a violent crime, and they just happen to the illegals. we had very little enforcement of overstays because as you know, when you're the prosecute you can only prosecute the cases that are brought to you, and the problem we ran into is the i.c.e. agents that we had who are all very dedicated to, they did not have time to do the internal enforcement because they were too busy, separatist and task forces, cracking down on drug crimes, or as you say, ferrying people back and forth between our five different port houses in eastern north carolina. at the end of the day, if we are going to enforce our laws, how much of that magnitude increase of resources do you really think it would take to enforce the laws that are on the books right now?
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>> are you saying that first we would address the 11 million or so that are already here and we start out with kind of zero individual? >> that's the second part of the question, but if we didn't address the 11 million, which is addresseaddress them with the lt we have on the books now. how much resource do you think that would take? >> people have done the math. probably sitting on this panel who can come if you look at kind of our current number of deportations and then the stream, you have to look at the stream of kind of individuals coming in, it would take a lot of years. and i think one of the things, one of the reasons that i support reform the system is i have not seen commitments to really fun to the agency like it needs to it and because there was not enforcement over such a long period of time people do these equities in very sad stores but it's not a great situation so i think if you would start out seeing some were were people who were able to legalize legal is an essay now
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it is kind of, now we are loosing ever known, now have enough resources, now we streamline, that would make a lot of sense but i love someone on the panel would have the math that's been done a bunch of times on how many additional resources we would need, but it's a lot and i think you could make tweets of immigration laws which would help even if you're dealing with a population that is currently here. >> to your point if we did do something about the 11 million illegals that are in the country now and started from zero, do we even have enough resources in place as is to enforce the laws going forward if we started from zero? >> i don't believe we do. i think that i.c.e. and the border which all are underequipped in the we need to kind of look at resources. they may be more temporary resources because you know there's going to be a large migration of people coming in, they'll legally, trying to get, right under the writer so they can adjust and maybe that would change over time if we had like
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a strong verification, employer verification system, things would change over time. but i think immediately we need to build at the agency's, bill that the support, all the court resource. for two years get a case heard in some parts of the country that it's ridiculous to decide whether niger in the country illegally but i think we are underequipped. there are too many inefficiencies but i think legislation, expand, mandating expanded renewable. may be expanding the use of voluntary return would also be helpful. reducing the number of cases that can come into the system. i think those would all make a big difference. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> mr. desantis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you, witnesses, for your testimony. my first question is for mr. crane and ms. wood. a lot of this debate is centered around the idea of obviously focusing on in lebanon people
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who are not illegal and legalizing them -- 11 million people, and we will provide these enforcement measures of people should say we should have a trigger. i guess just based on your experience, a guy like me who is considering this stuff, how much confidence sure i have based on your experience that the enforcement mechanisms that are promised by people advocating this legislation and by congress will actually end up coming to fruition? it just seems like we talk about certain enforcement since 86, netware promising certain things. obviously, the executive has a certain amount of discretion whether they can enforce the law, so what advice would you give me about whether i should believe that we're going to finally start enforcing the law? >> i wouldn't be surprised if your confidence level is low, given kind of the history of problems. but i would say that the opposite of doing, of doing
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something is not that will be in a perfect system but the opposite, waiting around here, you know, we are not fixing this problem magically now, and so i think that's a compelling reason to look, can we get a meaningful trigger, can we do something, can we try to be a better system. but what we have is i think everybody on both sides of the aisle agree the system is broken and so can we do something meaningful. i think congress can make a difference by having a trigger that this is as meaningful as possible and by putting as much as we can in the want to make things for a better day. but if a law isn't changed, the next set of eyes who come up and say the system is broken, problems will continue. >> it's funny you asked me that question, because i'm going to be appear next week and i intended to come up and ask you folks how do you put something into our legislation that will guarantee that we're out of going to be able to enforce the law? because you were talking someone
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right now that filed a lawsuit to try to be able to do our job. so my confidence level right now, a lease with the administration, zero that we'ree going to do our jobs now or in the future. so i'm very interested in hearing what congressman had to say about how do we -- something has to change. something different has to be done this time. >> great. ms. vaughan, i hear the term there's 11 people were in the country illegally without documents, to be you which side of the aisle i guess what you. but where does that figure come from ask how much confidence do you have any. is a possible vectors many million more? is it possible there's some less? can you give me some background on the number? i've noticed since i've been in congress that people repeat things over and over again and it just kind of, then you stop questioning it. so can you speak to that? >> i think their action is a
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fair amount of consensus around the number, the number we're using now is 11 the .5 million. -- 11.5 million. the way we calculate that is to use census bureau data to count the number of people who are here and subtract from that, and adjust for mortality and return migration, subtract the number of people that we know came here legally. because we do have good information on that. ..
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>> actually, it would be beneficial for the economy to do some type of legalization. now, obviously, we have a different social welfare system because we have this new health care law that's going to be kicking in. so what is your organization's positions on the costs that this would mean for taxpayers? if you went forward with a comprehensive plan that resulted, essentially, in instant legalization? >> if we move forward with the kind of comprehensive reform package that's been proposed, the two different proposals this week, it would be enormously costly because, um, the people who would be legalized are people who have not had full access to our social welfare system face pretty modest chances of being able to improve their earnings because of their education levels.
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um, and so they're not likely to be able to contribute enough in taxes to cover what they would be using in the way of social services. um, and we don't have -- we're thinking, you know, tens of billions of dollars a year additional, um, if we were to legalize the entire population, um, as has been proposed. >> thank you. yield back. >> thank you. ms. vaughn, i was reading your testimony, and it says that i.c.e., mr. crane's agency, had arrested 27,600 gang members in the past eight years? does that sound about right to you, mr. crane? >> that might be what they have stats on, but i would say that it's probably far higher than that. we have all kinds of folks that
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we encounter in jails and prisons, and they don't make any bones about gang -- >> so we have 11.5 million immigrants and more than 27,000 of them have been arrested for being gang members? >> yeah. not all of them are illegal immigrants. some of them are people that we've given green cards too, but they're still removable. some of them have temporary protected status, for example. >> okay. >> it is -- >> noncitizens. >> yes. >> okay. i noticed, you know, i was doing some calculation, i bumped it up when you went from 11 to 11.5 million, but taking 11.5 million, that's 3.45% of our population. or maybe let's just round it up to 3.5% of our population. yet the u.s. sentencing commission, this is on page 2 of your testimony, 64% of the
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kidnappers convicted in federal court were noncitizens. so you're talking about -- and let's just say that for every illegal immigrant there's a noncitizen that's here legally, although we know that that figure's more, somewhere closer to 5 or 6 million, i think, right? maybe 10? >> the legal imgrant population's more like, i think, 20 some. >> okay. that's both legal and illegal? >> um, it's 30 some, about 35 million combined, noncitizen. >> okay. and that, now, that's -- but that includes naturalized citizens, does it not? i think that's foreign-born -- >> that's foreign-born, i'm sorry. >> yeah. so you have to take, you have to back out a third of that. so just say 3.5 and 3.5, 7%. now, that includes illegal and legal residents who have not
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been naturalized citizens. yet 31% of drug traffickers in federal court are in that 6% or 7%. which is a pretty high number. 34% of all money laundering cases. you let 6% of the population, 7% , and yet 64% of the kidnappers come from that population. so when we talk about giving citizenship to 11 million nonresident -- illegal immigrants, we're talking about a lot of people who have been convicted -- not, i mean, not the majority. not even a large percentage of the minority, but you're talking
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about a good number of people that have been committed felony. now, mr. crane, is that correct? am i correct there? >> that's what the u.s. sentencing commission has on its web site, so i have pretty good confidence in that. >> so thargd u.s. government -- that according to u.s. government officials. i notice that, mr. crane, this is -- and this is really disturbing, and i really empathize with you. i mean, i can't imagine what it's like. but the two main laws you're supposed to enforce are people being here illegally or overstaying their visa. but your testimony is that i.c.e. policy is that you can't arrest someone for being here illegally, is that correct? >> yes, sir. and it's pretty clear if you look at the december 21, 2012 detainerrer policy that i.c.e. just put out, it specifically
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says, you know, one, they're illegally in the united states and, two, they did one of the following, and it starts going through a laundry list of -- go serious felony. >> >> yeah, or serious felony, misdemeanors. excludes other insignificant misdemeanors which none of us really knows what that means. but the bottom line is that you cannot simply arrest someone even in a jail for being a visa overstay or illegal entry unless they've done something, committed a felony. >> so the 3% that were actually deported according to the administration would have been those 3% who have committed a felony or committed at least duis, leaving the scene of an accident? not just traffic -- you know, reckless driving? you can't convict them for that, you can't convict them of being in an automobile accident,
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causing injury unless they leave the scene, is that correct? >> well, i would have to check on all the math, sir, but one thing i've been thinking about as you've had this discussion is i don't remember exactly what the president put out this year in terms of number of convicted criminals that were part of these numbers that we had this year, but their extremely high. i'm sorry? >> close to 50%. >> no, i mean an actual number, not a percentage. >> 200,000 last time -- >> about 170-some thousand. >> 170,000 some odd people. and with the handful of folks like ms. myers was testifying, we have states with we have two i.c.e. agents in the whole state. do you think we're getting all these jails covered? absolutely, we're not. and, you know, so i think the numbers of criminals are far higher in general probably than just the really bad offenders that you're citing. >> and i -- in your testimony i
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cite several examples of i.c.e. agents who have arrested people for misdemeanors or detained illegal immigrants as they came out of a courtroom, and the i.c.e. agent, it goes up to the office or the higher-ups, and you get an order to dismiss that person and release them, and also they're disciplined, right? >> yes, sir. i mean, obviously, in one of the cases that we had in delaware, that's exactly what happened. you know, the officer encountered an individual that was driving without a driver's license, had been convicted of that repeatedly, was getting in a vehicle in their presence, getting ready to do it again. they said, hey, this guy's a public threat, we're at least going to issue an nta at which time, you know, the officer was told, no, you will not issue an nta, you'll just reelite him. and when he a-- release him. and when he issued the nta, he
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was given a proposed suspension of three days. >> yeah. and i notice he was also told if he received a second offense, he would lose his job. >> well, i don't know, sir, that he was told that -- >> he would likely finish. >> yeah, that's standard procedure. once you commit an offense and they basically, you know, say that you did it and issue a suspension, the next time you do it, you're going to have either, you know, a higher suspension or removal. you're only going to get two or three shots at that, and you're going the lose your job. >> and that agent had been with the i.c.e. for 18 years and was a five-year military veteran. >> he was actually, i believe, 11 years at the u.s. border patrol and came over to i.c.e. for his total 18 years of law enforcement or experience, so he's definitely a vet on the immigration side as well as the five years of military service, yes. >> all right, thank you. i would ask every member to, please, read this testimony.
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and -- i'm sorry. i'm going to yield to the chairman. >> i thank the gentleman, and i can work from here. i want to ask all the panelists one last question. i want to thank you for your great contribution. we've talked about what happened in 1986, we've talked about the problems that we're experiencing right now in getting clear guidance from the administration about enforcing the law or getting clear guidance that, in many instances, were not allowed to enforce the existing laws. and i know that frustrates a great many american people. so if we were to do so-called comprehensive immigration reform, we're going to have to address this component of it. we did it in 1986. it was not enforced with regard to the employer sanctions, at
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least not in a significant, comprehensive way. and so i think a lot of people would say fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. why should this committee, why should this congress pass comprehensive immigration reform without having the assurance that somehow these laws will been forced, and what would that assurance be that we could write into the law that we would know that it wouldn't be in the hands of one individual to decide to suspend an entire area of enforcement of the law as is being challenged by the lawsuit of mr. crane and his associates? and i commend them for doing that. what could we put into this law that would give comfort to american citizens that if we attempt to solve this problem this time, it will, indeed, be mostly if not completely solved? and we'll start with you,
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ms. wood. >> i get the easy question at the end. >> all of you are going to get this question. [laughter] >> i mean, i think congress should attempt this because it's the right thing to do, because our system has been broken for far too long, and we're not -- we're kind of not managing it, and we need almost a kind of reset where we are to move forward in a productive enforcement manner or. what i would suggest is to look honestly at what the agencies need to be equipped in terms to really enforce so that on day one when the first person comes in the country and overstays the visa, is one day late or is not eligible for adjustment, we're able to identify the person and send that person home. i think that means resources in terms of manpower for all the agencies, a better employer verification system, better technology, and look and say, you know, can we do it? with 17,000 kind of people at
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i.c.e. and a problem of 11 million individuals illegally in the country, i'll tell you, we can't do it. the numbers just don't stack up. so how can we make the numbers actually work many and maybe that would mean an spencive border -- intensive border search, and then it could peter out as we move forward. and then i think we need to look at the inefficiencies in our system. it's ridiculous that people can tie up court hearings for years and years and years just to determine whether or not they're in the country illegally. we need to see can we see systems move through the court more quickly, voluntary returns and things of that nature. and then finally, i think we should look at, you know, the fundamental fairness of our system. part of the problem we have now is people feel, rightly or wrongly, that our system is unfair to them because they've built up equities, or they came here when they were two or something else. how is our system fair, are we treating everyone fairly? >> okay. but what i'm really getting at
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is i don't like a system where one individual can say, the president of the united states can say we're not going to enforce this law. maybe we can win this lawsuit and make it clear that the president doesn't have the authority to do that, but i'm looking for ideas that would go into a bill to do that -- >> cut the funding. say if, you know, you could tie the funding if certain things weren't done, then certain funding streams are cut off. i will tell you that that's been very effective for i.c.e., i know personally, on, you know, in a certain number of areas including, you know, making sure ha they're filling the number -- that they're filling the number of detention beds. funding streams at that the executive office of the president or others care about. but it's very hard, so hopefully, the oh panelists may have some -- the other panelists may have some ideas on that front. >> mr. crane? >> i don't know how good my ideas are on this because i've always been baffled, quite frankly, just as a u.s. citizen to see that the president of the united states has the ability to
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control these agencies in this way. i mean, once they appoint the director of the agency, they seem like they have sole control. and when we come and we talk to members of congress, you know, they seem like that there's nothing that they can do. and so as -- like i said, as a citizen, it's kind of baffling to me. so if there's a way that congress, like you said, that one person doesn't have the sole power, i mean, i.c.e. is getting a budget of about $6 billion a year, and once that president gets that appointee confirmed, then that agency and that $6 billion and everything goes -- that goes with it seems to be under the control of the president. and to me, i just think that's fundamentally wrong, and i don't think it matches up with our democratic principles. so i don't know, sir. if there's a way that congress,
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members of congress could be more involved in it, we would certainly welcome that because there's a lot of problems within these agencies, not just this immigration enforcement issue. >> thank you. i think it's one of the keys, one of just the very few, central keys to figuring out how to do this legislation. if you have further ideas, please, feel free to share them with us. ms. vaughn? >> um, i think it is critically important that congress reassert its authority, its constitutional authority, um, to make immigration laws. um, i don't think that there is one single trigger that is possible to ask for that will set in motion the kind of come come -- comprehensive immigration reform that's been talked about. i think that package, what's known as cir, is a bad idea. number one, it's going to inspire more illegal immigration, it's costly, it's going to distort the labor
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market. what we need to do first is establish, um, a sustained period of control and integrity in the systems that we have including our legal immigration system and also start consolidating some of our legal immigration categories, um, so that, you know, we're not, um, offering more opportunities for legal immigration than we can actually fulfill. all these backlogs that people have talked about. but, um, i don't think we -- to repeat an expression that came earlier today, we shouldn't just throw up our hands. i think what's important is, you know, cede the vast opinions on this committee, and i think what needs to happen is take smaller steps. at such point that we all have confidence in the system, or at least more confidence. start small, look for the areas of consensus, like, perhaps, skilled immigration. looking at it in a small way.
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illegal aliens who are brought here by their parents and have grown up here. bite off what congress can chew. start with confidence-building measures and do it slowly. that's how it's happened over the last 20 years. i cut my teeth on the immigration act in 990 -- 1990. it doesn't have to be done all at once. in fact, it's a mistake to do it that way. >> thank you. >> thank you very much for letting me be the last speaker on this. i think, first of all, you should congratulate yourselves. i don't think congress has reneged its responsibility in this area. the fact that we have had this robust enforcement machine rebuilt has a lot to do with congressional appropriations over the last many years, especially since 9/11. that's the, i think, the staffing and the resources most critical to the development of this robust machinery which was
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lacking, i think, in the prior years. so something really has worked here, and we should celebrate that. i think we are a pragmatic people. a defining characteristic of the country is a pragmatic country. we have accepted reality. the reality is these are 11 million people in our midst. why they got here, we can all debate that, but that's the reality today. it's not in our interest to keep perpetuating that bad reality. >> well, if we accept that premise, we also have to address do we want another 11 million? >> well, i'll get to that. >> we only have another minute. >> we want to make sure we we cn this slate because it does not help u.s. workers, economic interests, moral interests, all that. now, what we should not get here again is lessons from 1986, and this is where, unfortunately, the comprehensive nature of this approach is important. just look at the e-verify which you're quite committed to.
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the e-verify will never be a successful program if there are 11 million people who are unauthorized to work, if we don't allow for future flows of lawful workers. that's why i think exactly is the argument why it on the works when we do these things together, and that's the lesson, and that's why we didn't do it well. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all of the panelists for their contributions today. this has been a long day but a good day in terms of gathering information that we will benefit from as the committee continues to address the issue of immigration reform and fixing our broken immigration system. this concludes today's hearing, and thanks to all of our witnesses for attending. without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witnesses or additional materials for the record, and this hearing is adjourned.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the senate intelligence committee will hold a confirmationing hearing for cia director nominee john brennan this afternoon. live coverage is on c-span at 2:30 eastern. members of the senate intelligence committee are expected to is ask about drone strikes and terror suspects. at the wilson center last april, mr. brennan said drone strikes are legal, ethical and wise. >> i stand here as someone who
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has been involved with our nation's security for more than 30 years. i have a profound appreciation for the truly remarkable capabilities of our counterterrorism professionals and our relationships with other nations. and we must never compromise them. i will not discuss the sensitive details of any specific operation today. i will not, nor will i ever, publicly divulge sensitive intelligence sources is and methods, for when that happens, our national security is endangered, and lives can be lost. at the same time, we reject the notion that any discussion of these matters is a step onto a slippery slope that inevitably endangers our national security. too often that fear can become an excuse for saying nothing at all which creates a void that is then filled with myths and falsehoods. that, in turn, can erode our credibility with the american people and with foreign partners, and it can undermine the public's understanding and
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support for our efforts. in contrast, president obama believes that done carefully, deliberately and responsibly we can be more transparent and still insure our nation's security. finish so let me say it as simply as i can: yes, in full accordance with the law and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the united states and to save american lives, the united states government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely-piloted aircraft often refer today publicly as drones. and i'm here today because president obama has instructed us to be more open with the american people about these efforts. broadly speaking, the debate over strikes targeted at individual members of al-qaeda has centered on their legality, their ethics, the wisdom of using them and the standards by which they are approved.
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with the remainder of my time today, i would like to address each of these in turn. first, these targeted strikes are legal. attorney general holder, harold coe and jay johnson have all addressed this question at length. to briefly recap, as a matter of domestic law, the constitution empowers the president to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack. the authorization for the use of military force, the aumf, passed by congress after the september 11th attacks, authorized the president to use all necessary and appropriate forces against those nations, organizations and individuals responsible for 9/11. there is nothing in the aumf that restricts the use of military force against al-qaeda to afghanistan. as a matter of international law, the united states is in an armed conflict with al-qaeda, the taliban and associated
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forces in response to the 9/11 attacks, and we may also use force consistent with our inherent rights of self-defense -- of national self-defense. there is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely-piloted aircraft for this purpose or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield, at least when the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat. second, targeted strikes are ethical. without question the ability to target a specific individual from hundreds or thousands of miles away raises profound questions. here i think it is useful to consider such strikes against the basic principles of the law of war that govern the use of force. targeted strikes conform to the principle of necessity. the requirement that the target have definite military value.
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in this armed conflict, individuals who are part of al-qaeda or its associated forces are e legitimate military targets. we have the authority to target them with lethal force just as we target enemy leaders in past conflicts such as germans and japanese commanders during world war ii. targeted strikes conform to the principle of distinction. the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted. with the unprecedented ability of remotely-piloted aircraft to precisely target a military objective while minimizing collateral damage, one could argue that never before has there been a weapon that allows us to distinguish more effectively between an an al-qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians. targeted strikes conform to the principle of proportionality. the notion that the anticipated
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collateral damage of an action cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. by targeting an individual terrorist or small number of terrorists with ordnance that can be adapted to avoid harming others in the immediate vicinity, it is hard to imagine a tool that can better minimize the risk to civilians than remotely-piloted aircraft. for the same reason, targeted strikes conform to the principle of humanity which requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering. for all these reasons, i suggest to you that these targeted strikes against al-qaeda terrorists are, indeed, ethical and just. >> there is no prescription or role model or cookbook for being first lady, and if you look back at the lives of martha washington or abigail adams or dolly madison or edith wilson or
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eleanor roosevelt or wes truman or mamie eisenhower, you can see that each woman has defined the role in a way that is true to herself; how she can help her husband take care of her family, make her contribution to our nation. >> c-span's new original series, "first ladies: influence and image," their public and private lives, interests and their influence on the president over 44 administrations. produce with the the white house historical association, season one begins presidents' day, february 18th, at 9 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> what i've discovered in my, as i've gotten older and more mature is the absolute worst strategy to achieve happiness in life is to make that your primary goal. if you make happiness actually what you're striving for, you will not probably achieve it.
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instead, you'll end up being sort of narcissistic and self-involved, caring about your own pleasures and your own satisfactions in life as your paramount goal. what i have found is that happiness is best thought of as a by-product of other things. it's a by-product of meaningful work and family and friends and good health and love and care. it's -- we get happiness not by aiming directly for it, but by throwing ourselves into life prompts, involving ourselves into fundamentally trying to have integrity and being a good person. >> whole foods co-founder and ceo john mackey examines how inherent good of both business and capitalism can lead to a better world. sunday night at 9 on "after words" on c-span2. and find more booktv online. like us on facebook.
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>> we are live this morning as president obama and other congressional leaders are attending the fellowship foundation's national prayer breakfast here in washington. this is an annual event dating back to 1953 with president eisenhower. joining the president and congressional leaders, vice president joe biden and also remarks from johns hopkins pediatric neurosurgery director dr. benjamin carson. this is live coverrening a on -- coverage on c-span2. ♪ ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and mrs. michelle obama. [applause] ♪ finish. ♪ ♪ [applause]
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[applause] [applause]
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>> well, good morning. we've had a wonderful time together to discuss issues and have a joyful noise. we thanks for your attention and, mark? you know, it's overwhelming to think -- b. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, y'all have a seat. [laughter] sorry. amen, thank you. [laughter] it's overwhelming to think of the pathways that each person took to get to this place today. some from little villages halfway around the world is and some from just -- and some from just 12 blocks away. so thank you all for coming. >> this year's event, which has taken place for 61 years now,
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began with a group of people who happened to be leaders wanting to get together for breakfast and for prayer. one thing i know for sure is that life is complicated, and it's likely to get more complicated tomorrow than yesterday. but as members of the weekly senate prayer breakfast group, we've learned that taking time each week to meet o take off the disguises that we wear and pray and share our lives together makes life better. >> in the modern world or and especially in a city like this, there are thousands of things that drive us apart; politics, ideology and each religion. today, though, we come together in the spirit of jesus who taught us to love one another, treat others as we want to be treated and to love god with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. it would be a whole lot better
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world if we just listened to him. >> as you look around the room, understand that you're sharing this meal with people from more than 160 countries, all 50 states, the president, heads of state, leaders of all kind. through prayer we believe god has brought us together for a reason. as you listen closely to the program, try to figure out what god is saying to you. and as you've heard, this event is hosted by members of the house and senate, and i'd like to ask all the members of the house and senate or who are present to stand at this time. [applause] we're also honored to be joined by two prime ministers, the prime minister of serbia, his
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excellency, and the prime minister of the democratic republic of congo, his excellence -- excellency. thank you so much for being with us. [applause] >> thank you. yeah, thank you. and now i'd like to introduce the head table that will lead us through this experience. i'll start on my right. today you can say that you ate breakfast with the president and a gold medalist. at the end of our program, our closing prayer will be offered by olympic champion gabrielle douglas -- [applause] whose new book is appropriate lid subtitled, "my leap of
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faith." [laughter] next to her is former senator, cabinet member and president of the red cross, elizabeth dole. [applause] elizabeth, believe it or not, was our breakfast speaker 26 years ago. [laughter] she will give a reading from the holy scriptures. next to her is representative janice hahn, one of two co-chairs of the house prayer breakfast group. [applause] and next year she'll be standing in my place here. then we have admiral and mrs. jonathan greenert. he is the u.s. chief of naval operation which puts him in charge of about 300,000 sailors, 300 ships and 3,500 aircraft. he will offer a prayer for our national leaders. [applause] next, we have the spouse of my
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co-chair, mary sessions. [applause] and please join me in welcoming the passionate, principled and inspirational first lady of the united states, michelle obama. [applause] continuing down the table, we have our friend and former colleague, the good vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] on the other side of our speaker, is my colleague and friend, chuck schumer. he's the pride of ps-197 in brooklyn, new york, and a dedicated member of congress for, amazingly, 30 years, and a key member of the democratic leadership. [applause] chuck will be offering a reading
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from the holy scripture. next to him is another good friend and colleague, former colleague of ours, u.s. secretary of the interior, ken salazar. [applause] in his day job, ken is responsible for more than 500 million acres of united states land, and a former chair of this senate prayer breakfast and will be offering a prayer for world leaders. next to him is janice hahn's sidekick for the next year, co-chair of the house breakfast group, louie gohmert. [applause] he's a member of the house for eight years and from east texas. and finally, visiting from italy, mr. andrea primacero and our soloist. [applause] and our soloist andrea botoceli.
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he has gone from a small farming village near pizza, italy -- pisa, italy, to selling more than 80 million records worldwide. at last count i read that in addition to song writing, he plays nine instruments. this morning he will may the most brilliant instrument god has created, the human voice. join me in welcoming our soloist, andrea bocelli. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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♪ ♪ speck. ♪ ♪ [speaking in native tongue] ♪ ♪ [speaking in native tongue] ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [speaking in native tongue]
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♪ ♪ [speaking italian] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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[speaking italian] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause]
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[applause] >> good morning. >> good morning. >> well, in the jewish tradition, we are given not only an english name, but a hebrew name. and my hebrew name is isaiah. so i was particularly honored when mark asked me to read from the book of isaiah. this is isaiah 55, 6-13. seek the lord while he may i be
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found. call on him while he is near. let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. let them turn to the lord, and he will have mercy on them. and to our god, for he will freely pardon. for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the lord. as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. as the rain and the snow come down from the heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. it will not return to me empty. but will accomplish what i desire and achieve the purpose
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for which i sent it. you will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands. instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper, and instead of briar, the myrtle will grow. this will be for the lord's renowned for an everlasting sign that will endure forever. [background sounds] >> it is such a pleasure to be here, and it's such a pleasure to share our thursday morning prayer with you. and my co-chair from the house is janice hand, and you can come
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on up here, partner. it's a surprise for some people after they see the way we go back and forth in debate to see that when it comes to the prayer breakfast, it's truly bipartisan. we work together, we pray together, and there's something that really brings people together when you're praying together. but it's the belief in the power of prayer that brings us together. now, my wife and i have tried to teach that to our three girls, and when they were old enough to pray, we would, kathy and i would gather around one of the girls' beds with our three girls, and we would pray each night. well, one night we had some nose spray that a doctor had prescribed for our middle daughter can, caroline, and she'd had real serious or science problems. she didn't -- sinus problems. she didn't want it up her nose, but it was going to be good for her, according to the doctor. there was a lot of crying, there
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was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. but once the nose spray had been administered and the teared subsided, the crying stopped, when we gathered for prayers, katie prayed first, and then caroline. and caroline finished her prayer by say, and please, god, help sarah -- the little one -- mind her own business and quit being such a pest, and help her to just leave me and katie alone. [laughter] little sarah answered, she had the last prayer, and in her little, angelic voice, she said, please, god, help daddy tick some more med -- stick some more medicine up caroline's nose. [laughter] we had taught them how to pray but not necessarily what it was for. [laughter] so on thursday mornings we gather not to pray that god will help us stick something up our opponents' nose -- [laughter] but we pray, and god grants
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mending and healing and blessing and leadership. and it's a beautiful thing to see those come together. it does make us better. it makes us stronger, and it makes the government work better which is why benjamin franklin, his own words, his own handwriting said in the beginning contest with great britain when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room. our prayers were heard, and they were graciously answered. janice and i and our other colleagues have seen those prayers answered, and it's what brings us together. thanks for joining with us today. [applause] >> thank you, and good morning. mr. president, madam first lady, mr. vice president, senators,
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distinguished guests, i'm so delighted to be here this morning with all of you. it's such an honor to co-chair the house congressional prayer breakfast with my friend and colleague, congressman louie gohmert. his colleagues said this is the only chairmanship that speaker boehner can't remove him from for bad behavior. [laughter] only god can do that. [laughter] you know, today's prayer breakfast offers an opportunity for us to set aside political labels and come together to be inspired and pray for the critical issues that are facing our nation and the world. i was elected to congress in the middle of one of the most bitter, rancorous and divided periods in our nation's history.
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but in the midst of that discord, there was one place that i found that we could set aside our partisan bickering and our differences and come together, a place where once a week we could be there for each other with our god, a place, that place was the weekly congressional prayer breakfast. i found some unlikely friends in that breakfast. [laughter] >> exhibit a. [laughter] >> but they have helped me to be a better member of congress and to better serve my god and my constituents. faith has always been a strong part of my life and my story. i grew up in the church. my grandparents on my mother's side were missionaries to japan, and my grandmother on my father's side in a moment of deep despair and helplessness turned to god for help in
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raising her seven little boys under the age of 10 when her husband died suddenly. and that decision that my grandmother hattie made helped me find my journey of faith. and every week when a member of congress comes to our prayer breakfast and tells their own journey of faith, it gives us a bond that can't be broken. we believe in the power of prayer, and every week we give thanks when god has answered our prayers. abraham lincoln said, i have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that i have nowhere else to go. my own wisdom and that of all about me seemed ip sufficient for the day -- insufficient for the day. may we all continue to believe that our own wisdom is
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insufficient. god bless you all. [applause] >> good morning, mr. president, mrs. obama, mr. vice president, senator, congressmen, distinguished guests. many times many of you have even today said to those of us that wear the cloth of the nation thank you for your service, and on behalf of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen, may i say thank you for your service and for your support to your armed forces. please join me in a prayer for our national leaders. o lord, we come before you today thankful for the many blessings
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you have bestowed upon our nation, and we humbly ask for your continued guidance and strength. on this day we are reminded to give thanks for the extraordinary freedoms that we enjoy made possible by the efforts of past generations of men and women who have served this great nation. your word tells us of king david whose willingness to place his faith in you during difficult times serves as an example for us all. like david, there are many in this nation who have answered the call to serve both in and out of uniform. lord, we are thankful for their dedication, their passion, their perseverance and for the families that support their every effort. when it comes to our search for inspiration, scripture clearly speaks about where we should begin charting our course. we begin with prayer. we ask that you continue to guide our leaders with wisdom
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and understanding as they weather the storms that confront our nation. provide them, god, with the vision necessary to see the way ahead, the strength required to act on difficult decisions and the compassion to care for the well being of those that they lead. fortify the resolve of the men and women who lead our great nation and provide us with bold, confident and accountable leaders capable of carrying out those actions that your wisdom directs. in your holy name we pray, amen. [applause] [background sounds] >> mr. president, mrs. obama, mr. president, honored guests,
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ladies and gentlemen, it's my privilege today to read selected portions of hebrews 11 which has been called the whole of faith. and i'll end with hebrews 12, verses 1-3 and verse 14. now, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. by faith we understand that the universe was formed at god's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. and without faith it is impossible to please god, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who we werestly seek -- who earnestly seek him. by faith noah, when warned about things not seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. by faith abraham -- even though he was past age and sarah herself was barren -- was able
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to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. by faith abraham, when god tested him, offered isaac as a sacrifice. he who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son. even e though god had said to him it is through isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. abraham reasoned that god could raise the dead and, figuratively speaking, he did receive isaac back from death. by faith isaac blessed jacob and esau in regard to their future. by faith jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of joseph's sons and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. by faith joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the israelites from egypt.
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by faith moses parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. by faith moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of pharoah's daughter. by faith he left egypt not fearing the king's anger. he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. by faith the people passed through the red sea as on dry land. by faith the walls of jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days. by faith the prostitute rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. and what more shall i say? i do not have time to tell about gideon, samson, david, samuel and the prophets. those who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered
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justice and gained what was promised, who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword, whose weaknesses was turned to strength. others were tortured and refused to be released so that they might gain a better resurrection. some faced years in flogging while still others were chained and put in prison. they were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were put to death by the sword. these were all commended for their faith. therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. let us fix our eyes on jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joys set before him endured the cross,
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scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of god. consider him who end doored such opposition -- who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the lord. [applause] >> mr. president, ms. obama, vice president biden, members of the united states senate, fellow cabinet members, members of the house of representatives and distinguished guests, the following prayer was written by
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cesar chavez, the great leader or of the united states farm workers of america. last year president obama visited the grave site of cesar chavez and his office at a place in many la paz, california. and there he made this place a national monument so that we can honor the work of a true hero and a follower of christ and a follower of gandhi. it was a moving time for both the president and all of us who were there that day. chavez was a servant leader who followed the teachings of jesus christ. he followed the teachings of gandhi, dr. martin luther king and ever prayerful to -- [speaking spanish] our lady guadalupe. today in the world and many different places as it rages about in the debate about the peopling of our nations and immigration, and as our nation does the same thing, let us pray
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that our leaders, all of our world leaders and all of our leaders here in the united states, will be inspired by the true story of the peopling of our nations. and give voice to those whose, who now live in the fear of the shadows of our society. and so inspired by the teachings and life of st. francis and jesus christ, let us pray as cesar chavez prayed as he fasted for those who had no voice, who were the most vulnerable in our society. he prayed: show me the suffering of the most miserable so that i will know my people's plight. free me to pray for others because you are present in every person. help me to take responsibility for my own life so that i can be
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free at last. grant me the courage, oh, yes, grant me the courage to serve others. for in service there is true life. give me honesty and patience so that i can work with others. bring forth song and celebration so that the spirit will be alive among us. let the spirit flourish and grow so that we will never tire of the struggle. let us remember those who have died for justice, because they have given us life. help us love even those who hate us so we can change the world. god bless you, god bless the united states of america, god bless all of our leaders. [applause]
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>> of all the complex things in the world, perhaps the most complex is the human brain. how come i can remember the words to the preamble of the constitution but can't find my glasses? [laughter] we've invited as our guest speaker this morning for three reasons a gentleman, he loves jesus, he has a compelling life story, and he is a distinguished man of science and healing. we hope that he can help us sort some things out. may i introduce the director of pediatric neurosurgery at one of the world's great hospitals, johns hopkins in baltimore, dr. benjamin carson sr.. [applause]
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>> thank you so much. mr. president, mr. vice president, mrs. obama, distinguished guests -- which includes everybody -- thank you so much for this wonderful honor to be at the this stage again. i was here 16 years ago, and fact that they've invited me back means that i didn't offend too many people, so that was great. [laughter] i want to start by reading four texts which will put into context what i'm going to say. proverbs 11:9. with his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor. but through knowledge the righteous escape. proverbs 11:12, a man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. proverbs 11:25, a generous man will prosper. he who refreshes others will
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himself be refreshed. and second chronicles 7:14, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will i hear from heaven and will or forgive their sins and heal their land. you know, i have an opportunity to speak in a lot of venues. this is my fourth speech this week. and i have an opportunity to talk to a lot of people. and i've been asking people what concerns you? what are you most concerned about in terms of the spir or callty -- spirituality and the direction of our nation and our world? i've talked to very prominent democrats, very prominent republicans. and i was surprised by the uniformity of their answers. and those have informed my comments this morning.
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now, it's not my intention to offend anyone. i have discovered, however, in recent years that it's very difficult to speak to a large group of people these days and not offend someone. [laughter] people walk away with their feelings on their shoulders waiting for you to say something, ah, did you hear that? the pc police are out in force at all times. i remember once i was talking about the difference between a human brain and a dog's grain, and a man -- and a dog's brain, and a man got offended. you can't talk about dogs like that. [laughter] people focus in on that, completely miss the point of what you're saying. [laughter] and we've reached reach the poie people are afraid to actually talk about what they want to say because somebody might be offended. people are afraid to say merry christmas at christmas time. doesn't matter whether the person you're talking to is jewish or, you know, whether they're any religion. that's a salutation, a greeting
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of goodwill. we've got to get over this sensitivity. you know, and it keeps people from saying what they really believe. you know, i'm reminded of a very successful young businessman, and he loved to buy his mother these exotic gifts for mother's day. and he ran out of ideas, and then he ran across these birds. these birds were cool, you know? they cost $5,000 apiece. they could dance, they could sing, they could talk. he was so excited, he bought two of of them. sent them to his mother, couldn't wait to call her up on mother's day, mother, mother, what'd you think of those birds? and she said, they was good. [laughter] he said, no, no, no! mother, you didn't eat those birds? those birds cost $5,000 apiece! they could dance, they could sing, they could talk! and she said, well, they should have said something. [laughter] and, you know, that's where we end up, too, if we don't speak up for what we believe.
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[laughter] and, you know, what we need to do -- [applause] what we need to do in this pc world is for forget about unaniy of speech and unanimity of thought, and we need to concentrate on being respectful to those people with whom we disagree. and that's when i believe we begin to make progress. and one last thing about political correctness, which i think is a horrible thing, by the way. i'm very, very come -- compassionate, and i'm not never out to offend anyone. but pc is dangerous. because, you see, this country one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. and it muzzles people. it puts a muzzle on them. and at the same time, keeps people from discussing important
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issues while the fabric of this society is being changed. and we cannot fall for that trick. and what we need to do is start talking about things, talking about things that are important. things that were important in the development of our nation. one of those things was education. i'm very passionate about education because it's made such a big difference in my life. but here we are at a time in the world, the information age, the age of technology, and yet 30% of people who enter high school in this country do not graduate. 44% of people who start a four-year college program do not finish it in four years. what is that about? think back to a darker time in this our history. two hundred years ago when slavery was going on it was illegal to educate a slave,
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particularly to teach them to read. why do you think that was? because when you educate a man, you liberate a man. and there i was as a youngster placing myself in the same situation that a horrible institution did because i wasn't taking advantage of the education. i was a horrible student. most of my classmates thought i was the stupidest person in the world. they called me dummy. i was the butt of all the jokes. now, admittedly, it was a bad environment. single-parent home, you know, my mother and father had gotten divorced early on. my mother got married when she was 13. she was one of 24 children. had a horrible life. discovered that her husband was a bigamist, had another family. and she only had a third grade education. she had to take care of us. dire poverty. i had a horrible temper, poor self-esteem. all the things that you think
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would preclude success. but i had something very important, i had a mother who believed in me, and i had a mother who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happened. never made excuses, and she never accepted an excuse from us. and if we ever came up with an excuse, she always said do you have a brain? and if the answer was, yes, then she said then you could have thought your way out of it. it doesn't matter what john or susan or mary or anybody else did or said. and it was the most important thing she did for my brother and myself. because if you don't accept excuse, pretty soon people stop giving them, and they start looking for solutions. and that is a critical issue when it comes to success. well, you know, we did live in dire poverty, and one of the things that i hated was poverty. you know, some people hate spider, some people hate snakes, i hated poverty.
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i couldn't stand it. [laughter] but, you know, my mother couldn't stand the fact that we were doing poorly in school, and she prayed and asked god to give her wisdom, what could she do to to to make her sons understand the importance of wisdom? god gave her wisdom. at least in her opinion. it was to turn off the tv, let us watch only two or three programs during the week, and read two books apiece and submit to her written book reports which she couldn't read, but we didn't know that. [laughter] she put check marks and highlights and stuff -- [laughter] but, you know, i just hated time. her friends would criticize her. they would say you can't make boys stay in the house reading books, they'll grow up and hate you. and i would overhear them and say, you know, mother, they're right. but she didn't care. [laughter] after a while, i actually began to enjoy reading those books
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because we were very poor, but between the covers of those books i could go anywhere, i could be anybody, i could do anything. i began to read about people of great accomplishment, and as i read those stories, i began to see a connecting thread. i began to see that the person who has the most to do with you and what happens to you in life is you. you make decisions. you decide how much energy you want to put behind that decision. and i came to understand that i had control of my own destiny. and at that point i didn't hate poverty anymore, because i knew it was only temporary. i knew i could change that. it was incredibly liberating for me, made all the difference. ..
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>> anybody finishing the second grade was completely literate. he could find a mountain that on the outskirts of society that could read a newspaper, have a political discussion, to tell how the government worked. if you really want to be impressed, take a look at the chapter on education in my latest book, america the beautiful, which i wrote with my wife, came out last year. and in that education chapter you will see questions extracted from a sixth grade exit exam fro.i doubt most college graduas
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today could pass that test. we have dumbed things down to that level. and the reason that that is so dangerous is because the people who founded this nation said that our system of government was designed for a well-informed and educated populace. and when they become less informed, they become vulnerable. think about that. our system of government, and that's why the education is so vitally important. some people say, you are overblowing it, things aren't that bad. and you're a doctor, under a surgeon, why are you concerned about these things? i've got news for you. five doctor signed the declaration of independence. doctors were involved in the framing of the constitution, the bill of lights, a whole bunch of things. it's only been in recent decades
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we've extracted ourselves what you think it's a big mistake. we need doctors and many scientists and engineers, all those people involved in government. not just lawyers but i don't have anything against lawyers, but here's the thing about lawyers. i'm sorry but i've got to be truthful, okay? [laughter] got to be truthful. what do lawyers learned in law school? to win. by hook or by crook, you've got to win but they've all these lawyers any of all these republican lawyers and their side wants to win. we need to get rid of that. what we need to start thinking about is how do we solve problems? [applause] [laughter]et shot let me finish. you know, one of the reasons, and adult like to bring a problems without some of the solutions. my wife and i started the cars and scholars fund 16 years ago after we heard about the survey,
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international survey looking at the ability of eighth graders in 22 countries can solve math and science problems, and we came out 21. very concerned. we go to school nclb strophes, all-state basketball, all-state wrestling. the quarrback was the big man on campus. what about the intellectual superstars? what did they get? national honor society been, a pat on the head, they are, they are, little. [laughter] nobody cares about them. is it any wonder sometimes the little smart kids try to hide and they don't want anybody to know? this is not helping us. so we started giving out scholarships to students from all backgrounds for superior academic performance and demonstration of humanitarian qualities. and lets you did about other people, it didn't matter how smart you were. we have plenty of people like that. we need smart people who care about other people. we would give the money, the
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money would go into a trust. they would get interest on the. when it went to college they would get the money. but also the school gets a trophy. every bit as impressive as a sports trophy. they get a metal. they get to go to a banquet. we try to put them on the same kind of pedestal as we do the all-state athlete. i have nothing against athletics or entertainment. police believe me. i'm from baltimore. the way events -- the ravens won. this is great. but what will maintain our position in the world? the ability to shoot a 25-foot jump shot? or the ability to -- we need to put things in perspective. [applause] >> many teachers have told us we would put a carson scholar in the classroom the gba of the whole classroom goes up. it's been very gratifying. we started 16 years ago with 25 scholarships in maryland. now we have given him more than
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5000 we are in all 50 states. will also put in reading lives. these are fascinating places that no little kid could possibly pass up. they get points for the amount of time they spend in the reading room. the number of books they read and they can trade them in for prizes. in the beginning they do for the prizes but it doesn't take long before the academic performance improves. we particularly target title i schools where kids come from homes with no books and they go to schools with no libraries. those are the ones who drop out. we need to try to take a process or early on because we can't afford to waste any of those young people. for everyone of those people that we keep from going down that path, that path of self-destruction and mediocrity, that's one less person you have to protect yourself and your family from. one less person you to pay for in the welfare system. one more taxpaying productive member of society who may invent
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a new energy source or come up with a cure for cancer. they are all important to us, and we every single one of them. it makes a difference of. [laughter] [applause] >> please read about it. the carson scholar from. carson scholars.org. and but why is it so important that we educate our people? because we don't want to go down the same pathway as many other pinnacle nations have preceded us. i think particularly about ancient rome. very powerful, nobody could even challenge them militarily. but what happened to them? they destroyed themselves from within. moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. they destroyed themselves. and if you don't think that can happen to america, you get out your books and you start reading. but, you know, we can fix it.
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why can we fix it? because we are smart. we have some of the most intellectually gifted people leading our nation's. all we need to do is remember what our real responsibility are so we can solve the problem. i think about these problems all the time, and, you know, my role model with jesus, and he used parables to help people understand things. [applause] and one of our big problems right now, like i said i'm not -- you know, our deficit is a big problem. think about it. and our national debt -- [applause] sixteen a half trillion dollars, do you think that's not a lot of money? i'll tell you what, count one number per second which a candidate because what you get to 1000 it takes you longer to get to a second the but one number per second, do you know
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how long it would take you to count to 16 trillion? 507,000 years, more than half a million years to get there. we have to deal with this. here's a terrible. a family falls on hard times. a dad loses his job or gets demoted, it's part-time work. has five children. he comes to the five children and he says, we are going to have to reduce your allowance. well, they're not happy about it but he said, except for john and susan. they are exceptional. they get to keep their allowance. we may give them more. how do you think that is going to go down? not too well. same thing happens, enough said. what about our taxation system? so complex, there is no one who can possibly comply with every -- if i wanted to teach you or you, i could get you on the tax issue. that doesn't make any sense. what we need to do is come up
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with something that simple. and when i pick up my bible, do you know what i see? i see the fairest individual in the universe, god, and he is given us a system. it is called hives. we now know so have to do 10% of the principal, he didn't say iff your crops failed though getting any typing. he didn't save have a bumper crop give me triple. so there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. you make $10 billion, you put in a building became a $10, you put in one. of course, you got to get rid of the loopholes. [applause] now some people say, they say that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10. where does he have to hurt the guy? he just put a billion dollars in the pot. we don't need to hurt him. [applause] it's that kind of thinking, it's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the
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cayman islands. that money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs. and we are smart enough, we're smart enough to figure out how to do that. we've already started down the path of solving one of the other big problems, health care. we need of good health care for everybody. it's the most important thing that a person can have. money means nothing, titles mean nothing when you don't have your health. but we've got to figure out sufficiently to do it. we have spent a lot of money on health care, twice as much per capita as anybody else in the world, and yet not very efficient. what can we do? here's my solution. when the person is born, give him a per certificate, an electronic medical record, and health savings account. to which money can be contributed, pretax, from the time you're born until the time you die. when you die you can pass onto o your family members so that when you're 85 you have six diseases, you're not trying to spin everything that you're happy to pass it on and there's nobody
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talking about the death penalty are number one. and also, for the people who are indigent who don't have any money, we can make contributions to their hsa each month because we already have this huge pot of money instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let's put in their hsa. now they have some control over their own health care. what do you think they're going to do? they're going to learn very quickly how to be responsible or when mr. jones gets that diabetic foot look at come he's not blowing a big chunk. he's got to go to the clinic. he learned that very quickly. gets the same treatment the emergency room they send in a. in the clinic they say let's get your diabetes under control. that's how we begin to solve these kinds of problems. it's much more complex than that and i don't have time to go into it all but we can do all of these things because we are smart people. and let me just begin to close here by another terrible.
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sea captain, and he's out on the sea near the end where the titanic went down there and i look at him and his bright light, right there, another ship he figures. and he tells his signaler, signal that ship. deviate 10 degrees to the south. back comes the message. now, you deviate 10 degrees to the north. tto the north. welcome he's a little bit incensed, you know? he said send a message, this is captain johnson, deviate 10 degrees. back comes the message, this is in some fourth class rightly, deviate 10 degrees to the south. now he is really upset. he said send him a message. this is a naval destroyer. back comes the message, this is a lighthouse.
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[laughter] enough said. now, what about the symbol of our nation? the eagle, the bald eagle, an interesting story how we chose that but a lot of people think we called it a bald eagle because it looks like it has a bald head. that's not the reason. it comes from the old english word which means ground with white. and we just shortened it the bald. use that next time you see somebody who thinks they know everything, you'll get them on the. why is that eagle able to fly high? forward, because it has two wings. they left wing and a right wing. [laughter] enough said. [laughter] and i want to close with this story. 200 years ago, this nation was involved in a war. the war of 1812.